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June 20, 2009

Baltimore's summer table



Before the end of Beach Week, I want to be sure to link to Jacques Kelly's excellent column today, which has a peripheral beach reference.

It's about summer foods in Baltimore, but he starts in Rehoboth. It made me hungry just reading it.

(David Hobby/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:05 PM | | Comments (28)


That's a cool name – Jacques Kelly. Uh oh, Hondo is breaking out the mezcal.

Love the Jacques!

I read his column yesterday and found it reminded me of when I was a young boy. My mother made cole slaw, apple sauce and stewed tomaoes. Stewed tomatoes are hard to find in todays restaurants and often it is too sweet. My mother canned stewed tomatoes in mason jars so we had them all year. She also canned chili sauce which my sister has made from her recipe and won three blue ribbons at the Howard county fair. I used her recipe once and canned chili sauce. It took about seven hours to complete eight quarts. During the summer we always had fresh vegetbles from Lexington or North Avenue markets. My job was to shuck the corn, the peas and the lima beans. She also, cut the corn from the cob and made fried corn which I have not had since. I tried it once and gave her some, but she said I did not get the "milk" when I cut the kernals off. Oh the joys of Maryland summer cuisine. There is no place like it.

My mom used to can her own stewed tomatoes, pickles and peach jam. I need to get her back on that program.

I was someplace recently where stewed tomatoes were the side vegetable, but I can't place it. Probably Bullocks in Carroll County or a place like that.

Speaking of stewed tomatoes, we recently moved from MD to VA and found a nice "country" restaurant near Winchester (Hayfield Family Restaurant) that specializes in homemade pot pies and has pretty good stewed tomatoes.

After reading Jacques' article, I remembered my favorite summer dinner, prepared by mom-
a huge plate covered with buttered Maryland corn.Sauteed rockfish filet placed on top of the corn in the middle of the plate. On one side of the rockfish, a sauteed crabcake, on the other- a sauteed softshell crab.
Side dishes- sliced Maryland tomato and cucumbers with onions in vinegar.
Dessert- Maryland cantaloupe.

Yep, RoCK, in season, you can get stewed tomatoes as a side at Bullocks (home of the ever popular TG dinner on Sundays too!).

Owl, don't swallow the worm.

oops - that's BAUGHER'S not Bullocks. Sorry 'bout that... I'm not sure Bullocks is even still in business...

Bullocks Restaurant is still in business, though it has gone thru several owners. The butcher shop still operates as always.
Not a summer meal but I fondly recall driving past the old Crosse and Blackwell plant on Eastern Ave when they were making catsup in the summer. It was a lovely aroma.

The Bullocks on route 32 is open. The Bullocks that closed was the one out by the airport on route 97.

After reading Jacques' article, I remembered my favorite summer dinner, prepared by mom-
a huge plate covered with buttered Maryland corn.Sauteed rockfish filet placed on top of the corn in the middle of the plate. On one side of the rockfish, a sauteed crabcake, on the other- a sauteed softshell crab.
Side dishes- sliced Maryland tomato and cucumbers with onions in vinegar.
Dessert- Maryland cantaloupe.

My idea of heaven. Oh my god you've got me hungry now!

Is that a picture of Baltimore Peach Cake? I remember my grandfather bringing it home from Gerstones (sp) bakery on Orleans Street in east Baltimore. It was so good!

Jacques' articles are always a great read. I can just picture the heavy dark green canvas awnings over the front porches, with the heavy steel enamel-painted porch chairs.

I usually love Jacques' columns, but I felt this one was just a tad curmudgeonly.

We ate truckloads of (yellow) corn on the cob, fresh limas, and tomatoes in summer, and enough watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to choke a whale. We LOVED the stuff! Matter of fact, our favorite summer supper was corn on the cob, fresh limas, and sliced tomatoes; sometimes accompanied by meat, but often not. Dessert was either melon, a snowball from the stand up the street (that lo, these 60+ years later still makes its own syrups and marshmallow), or a trip to Murray's for ice cream. No wonder I loved summer!

Dottie, summer is my least favorite season of the year. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had grown up eating at your house! Or if we could eliminate mosquitos, whose favorite dinner is ME.

I would love to find a real peach cake like they had at Silber's or any of the old Baltimore bakeries. (of course, that is when peaches come into season.) Or, if anyone knows of a recipe that is close to it, I'll trade it for a coffee cake recipe that is as close as you can get to Silber's colonial coffee cake.

Baltimore Peach Cake
1 3/4 cups white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup hot water
1 egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons raspberry jam
4-6 peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered
canola or cooking spray
One orange
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup room temperature water

I use a less fussy dough making method than the one in the Urbanite. Follow the link above if you want to use the original method.

First, grease or spray a 9" cake pan, sides and bottom.

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a mixer bowl (that's the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast). Start the mixer on low, and add the softened butter. Beat together for two minutes or so. Add the egg while the mixer is running. Slowly add the water.

You'll have a very sticky dough. You may want to use the oil spray on your hands so you can work the dough a little. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepped cake pan. You'll need to stretch it out a bit and pinch closed and holes. You'll end up with a very thin dough.

Spread the raspberry jam on top of the cake in an even layer. Arrange the peach quarters in the pan on top of the cake, pressing lightly on each to dent the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 25 minutes.

When 15 minutes or so have passed, cut your orange n half and juice it into a small saucepan. Scrape some of the pulp out of the orange and into the pot, leaving any membrane or white pith behind.

Woodlea Bakery has the best peach cake ever!

Hahn's Bakery on Conklin just north of Eastern in Highlandtown does peach cake.

Thank you Betty Crocker. Here is the "Silber's" Colonial Coffee Cake recipe. Its a perennial favorite .


½ c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. soft butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. regular flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. coarsely chopped walnuts

1 ½ c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg
scant ¾ c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. melted butter or margarine
½ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix all ingredients for streusel in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Mix flour with baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Beat egg until frothy in large bowl.
4. Beat in sugar and butter/margarine until combined.
5. Add milk and vanilla extract.
6. Add flour mixture.
7. Place ½ of batter into greased and floured 8x8x2 inch square or 9-inch round pan.
8. Sprinkle evenly with ½ of streusel.
9. Repeat with rest of batter and streusel.
10. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 deg. or until knife inserted comes out clean.
11. Cool on rack.

Thanks, Betty Crocker, but how long do you cook the orange juice and pith? What is/are the final step/s? I think something is missing from the recipe for the glaze.

To Betty Crocker and Susan BK - Thanks very much for the two outstanding recipes. I can't wait to try them.

BC please post the rest of the recipe for the peach cake glaze.


For the glaze:

Juice an orange into a saucepan. Pulp is fine, but try not to get the membranes or pith. Add roughly 1/3 c. water and 1 c. sugar. The amount of water depends on how juicy the orange is -- you don't want this step to take too long although it's not a disaster if it does -- it's just time consuming. Stir over medium heat until reduced to a syrup.

After the 25 minutes remove the cake from the oven. Spoon the glaze over the top -- you may have some left over, but you want good coverage. Allow the glaze to set. Serve warm or cold.

Here's the original that I based mine on:

Thank you, Betty Crocker. All I need are some good peaches.

Would anyone have a recipe for the German Cheesecake that Hahn's Bakery has made for years? I was raised in Maryland and that is my favorite. Please post, or email if you have a similar recipe.

Vicki, Hahn's is still there. If you mean schmearcase, I think some folks posted recipies here before. They should be in the archives.

This Saturday at the Carroll County Farmer's Market there is a Peach Festival. I'm looking at an ad that says there will be Peach Cakes there in addition to pies and cobblers.

It's possible that Dottie has already mentioned this, but Weber's has delightful fresh-made Peach Cake. Closer that Carroll County.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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